The National Organization for Women has issued its annual report on how women are depicted in prime time on the six major TV networks -- a stinging indictment of programmers and their work product.
"On television, persuasive myths still exist about gender, race, sex, violence, class, age -- you name it," said NOW Foundation President Kim Gandy. "Network programming sends a distorted, often offensive, image of women, girls and people of color -- brought to you through the point-of-view of white men and boys."
Gandy said the 2002 Feminist Primetime Report concluded that TV "remains very much a man's world, with women serving primarily as 'eye candy.'"
The report was conducted as part of NOW's Watch Out, Listen Up! Campaign, initiated in 1999 to promote "positive and diverse portrayals of women, girls, people of color and other under-represented groups on television."
The project assigned more than 80 teams of observers to monitor 107 shows during the first half of 2002. Analysts evaluated the shows on the bases of gender composition/diversity, violent content, sexual exploitation and social responsibility.
The report concluded that network programming reflected "inequity between regularly employed female and male actors, an overwhelming male point-of-view and a depressing lack of social responsibility."
Gandy said women and girls deserve better than they're getting in prime time.
"Violence is still far too prevalent on TV and sexual exploitation has reached a new low on programs like ABC's 'The Bachelor,' NBC's 'Fear Factor' and the upcoming 'Victoria's Secret Fashion Show' on CBS," said Gandy. "TV bigwigs are using the incredible power of the medium to get rich by serving up an adolescent boy's fantasy world."
HOLLYWOOD LEGEND MOURNED
André de Toth -- one of the last surviving European filmmakers who emigrated to Hollywood during the World War II era -- died Sunday of an aneurysm at his home in Burbank, Calif. He was 89.
Best-known for the 3-D classic "House of Wax" (1953) starring Vincent Price, de Toth began his career in his native Hungary in the early 1930s. He fled to England as war approached, and established himself as a second-unit director on Alexander Korda's "The Thief of Baghdad" (1940). He continued to work with Korda in Hollywood before taking the helm on a series of B movies -- including "None Shall Escape" (1944) and "Passport to Suez" (1943) -- that established his U.S. directing career.
Specializing in film noir and hard-edged Westerns, de Toth turned out such pictures as "Ramrod" (1947), "The Pitfall" (1948) and "Slattery's Hurricane" (1949). He worked with some of Hollywood's top stars -- including Joel McCrea, Barbara Stanwyck, Dick Powell, Richard Widmark, Randolph Scott, Gary Cooper and Kirk Douglas. He made two movies with his wife, Veronica Lake.
Other de Toth screen credits included "Man in the Saddle" (1951), "Springfield Rifle" (1952), "The Stranger Wore a Gun" (1953), "The Bounty Hunter" (1954) and "The Indian Fighter" (1955).
In 1950, de Toth and William Bowers were nominated for an Oscar for their story on "The Gunfighter," starring Gregory Peck as a professional killer trying to outrun his violent past.
By the late '50s, de Toth was mainly directing episodic television on such series as "Maverick," "77 Sunset Strip" and "The Westerner." In 1967, he directed Michael Caine in the war movie "Play Dirty." His last feature was "Terror Night," a 1987 horror movie about a silent movie star who -- costumed as various characters -- goes on a killing rampage.
A model of urbanity and an accomplished painter and sculptor, de Toth was also a licensed airplane pilot and an avid race car driver. He was instantly recognizable in Hollywood, because he had just one eye and always wore a black eye-patch.
NATALIE WOOD COMING TO PRIME TIME
Plans are under way at ABC for a TV movie about the life of Natalie Wood, based on Suzanne Finstad's book about the late film star, "Natasha: The Biography of Natalie Wood."
Peter Bogdanovich ("The Last Picture Show," "Paper Moon") will direct. Justine Waddell ("Dracula 2000," "Mansfield Park") is set to play Wood -- who became a child star in 1947 in "Miracle on 34th Street" and drowned at 43 in 1981. Along the way, Wood starred in such screen classics as "Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice" (1969), "Gypsy" (1962), "West Side Story" (1961), "Splendor in the Grass" (1961) and "Rebel Without a Cause" (1955).
GARNER, ALLEN TEAM UP FOR DRAMA
UPN has picked up eight one-hour episodes of "Supermodel," a new reality series featuring true-life supermodel Tyra Banks, who also serves as executive producer and will sit on the panel of judges evaluating contestants trying to make it in the high-gloss, high-stress world of supermodeling.
"There is a misconception about supermodels that is more fantasy than reality," said Banks in a press release issued by the network. "With 'Supermodel,' I want to demystify the glamour and show the challenges and hard work of becoming a supermodel, but in a humorously hip and edgy way."
The series will follow the contestants living together and competing against one another for the big prize -- a contract with a top modeling agency.
PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARDS SET
Organizers have announced that the 29th Annual People's Choice Awards will be broadcast from the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, Calif., on Jan. 12 on CBS TV.
The People's Choice Awards are determined by a Gallup Poll of fans, who will identify their favorite TV shows, movies, actors, actresses, singers and bands.